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1974: Ford ‘Makes Good’ in Move to White House

Potentially, 1974 had the makings of a memorable year. Cher divorced Sonny Bono, her husband of 10 years. Drunk, unruly fans attending “Ten Cent Beer Night” in Cleveland caused the Indians to forfeit a game to the Texas Rangers. “Happy Days” premiered on ABC. But here on Capitol Hill, the happy days apparently did not come until August when then-President Richard Nixon resigned and, as the Roll Call headline reads, a “Local Boy Makes Good.”

If nothing else, 1974 was a memorable year for Gerald Ford. Following his 25-year stint in the House, including eight years as Minority Leader, he was the first vice president chosen under the 25th Amendment. Ford then succeeded Nixon in the Oval Office as Nixon stepped down rather than face impeachment. Taking the presidential reins in ’74 was not an easy task as the country was reeling from the Watergate scandal, inflation, a depressed economy and energy shortages. But Ford, who took the oath of office on Aug. 9, 1974, attempted to do what he could to turn the country around in his short time as president.

About a month after taking the oath, Ford said in a speech that he had “learned already in this office that the difficult decisions always come to this desk.” In an effort to do what he felt was right rather than what was best for his political career, Ford granted Nixon a full pardon in September of 1974.

Although Ford won the Republican nomination for the 1976 presidential election, he lost the race to Democratic opponent Jimmy Carter. Carter began his inauguration speech, “For myself and for our nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.” So, it seems Roll Call was right 30 years ago when it stated “Local Boy Makes Good.”[IMGCAP(1)]

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